Thought to be the largest home in Kennebunkport, the Nathaniel Lord Mansion remains one of the most significant and ornate in the region. Captain Nathaniel Lord (1776-1815) was the son of Tobias Lord, a Revolutionary War veteran and later, a shipbuilder in Kennebunk. He followed his father’s footsteps and ran a shipyard, owning many ships and being one of the most prosperous merchants in the area. Kennebunkport was an important shipbuilding center and port of entry until during the War of 1812, when the British blocked the mouth of the Kennebunk River. All ship building and commerce ceased in this area at that time. Consequently, with no shipping being done, and no ships being built, the ship carpenters became idle. Nathaniel Lord commissioned these men to build him a large house and barn upon a piece of land given to his wife, Phoebe Walker, by her father Daniel Walker, who’s home stands to the north. The home was passed down for generations in the female line until the 1970s when it was restored and converted to the gorgeous Nathaniel Lord Inn.
This Greek Revival home was built around 1848 for Thomas Maling, a rigger (person who installs the system of ropes and chains for a ships mast and sails). The home is built upon a raised brick foundation, likely to elevate it from the rising and receding nature of the Kennebunk River just across the street. By the 1890s, the home was converted to an inn, known as the Maling’s Inn, after the original owner. Today, the inn is known as the Old River House. On the lot, the old rigging loft remains and has been converted on the inside as additional rooms.